AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People denounces the pronouncement of President Marcos Jr’s priority bills that are said to improve governance. “The priority bills on public utilities do not address our primary problems as these bills do not retain privatization and deregulation, which result in high cost of water and electricity”, clarifies AGHAM’s Secretary General Jona Yang. “The President is oblivious to the fact that public utilities are being run by private entities who only value their profit-driven interests and not for the benefit of the public.
In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. emphasized the need to expand power sources to address the energy needs of the country. In order to do so, he is advocating for the construction of more power plants, tapping available renewable energy sources, legislation on natural gas as a complimentary energy source, and for the re-examination of the country’s potential in operating nuclear power plants.
AGHAM acknowledges the need to develop all possible indigenous energy resources that are very promising if fully developed, but our energy industry operates under a privatized and liberalized framework due to the enactment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). “The EPIRA in itself has created an opportunity for the abuse of energy corporations such as the pass-through charges of distribution utilities, including system loss charges and various taxes that do not undergo scrutiny of government regulators,” Yang added. She emphasized that the narrow corporate interests will prevail and will not promise a cheap, accessible and stable power supply to the people.
While we welcome the use of renewable energy resources and the midstream natural gas industry, we are still wary that this will not lead to lower cost of energy because it is the market prices that determine the energy production regardless of the sources and not the actual cost of producing electricity . The EPIRA has distorted the actual cost of electricity because the rate regulation methodology of the Energy Regulatory Commission has not been transparent for public scrutiny.
In the case of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), the president’s insistence on recommissioning the mothballed power plant and the introduction of the small modular reactor put into question how prepared we are on nuclear waste disposal, public safety and the fuel source are yet to be addressed.
As we are still struggling for costly electricity, the passage of the Public Services Act will worsen the situation with all the components of the energy industry such as power generation the transmission and distribution can now be fully owned by foreign corporations.
Hence, the President’s priority bills specifically on public utilities such as electricity will be business as usual as it will not address the long term problem of exorbitant cost of electricity. We dare the President to repeal the EPIRA and renationalize our energy industry to achieve an affordable, accessible and sustainable electricity utility.
 Agham Notes on Renewable Energy in the Philippines dated January 11, 2015 url: https://www.slideshare.net/AGHAM/re-paper